Well, well. It appears the famous award-winning steampunk Iron Man costume has caused quite a scandal. According to Gizmodo, the suit was re-painted without the creator’s permission, and he is “royally angered” that his creation became Iron Man.
I already knew that the suit was first used as the Tin Man in a short Indy movie. But I had no idea that Bill Johnson, the lead designer of the Tin Man costume would be so outraged.
Here are a few comments that Bill left on The Effects Lab forum:
Just found out that the Tin Man suit was taken and modified into an “Iron Man” suit that won the costume contest at the NY Comic Con by my ex assistant. The suit was changed without my knowledge or permission and I’m royally angered by this action. It’s also sad to see that the only screen used version of the suit that exists, is now a cheapened knock off of a popular character. I don’t get people anymore and it makes me want even more to become more reclusive.
Bill later clarified the situation:
I had a long talk with him and we ironed things out. It was all part of a huge lapse in good judgment that blew up. I hate to see a piece of history, such as this piece, fade away like that. I guess that I am getting old and sentimental.
He was acting as the person who was holding on to the suit for promotional events for the film. He did help build it and said that it was constantly needing repair (which I do believe). He’s not very old and just showed a serious lapse of good judgment. As for the suit’s ownership, that is a grey area. The company that made the film paid for the materials and did give me a very small amount of money for all the work that I did (Production design, make up effects, etc) just to help with my bills while I took time off to do the project. I have most of the items created or bought for the film, but agreed to let them hold on to the suit for display in their office or promotion for the film. I would not say that it was stolen, but was not used in the manner of our agreement. He truly feels horrible for doing such an idiotic thing and I know that he is really a good kid at heart. Ultimately, what’s done is done and I’m sure he won’t do such a stupid thing again in the future.
Things got even more interesting when Brandon McCormick chimed in. He’s the indy film’s director and speaks on behalf of his production company. He actually likes the Iron Man costume.
I want to set the record straight, as I feel this sheds a bad light on our film company, but more importantly on the artists that call Whitestone home.
We were not aware of Matt Silva’s intentions to modify the suit, nor were we a part of planning it. While that is true, and we had a private conversation about the issue, I personally thought his modifications were incredible and as an entire film company we were proud and supportive of the success of one of our artists.
We thought that a retweet by Jon Faveru and Stan Lee warranted hearty pat on the back! While we are proud of our little short film ‘Heartless: The Story of the TinMan” we do not regard it as a piece of “film history”, and feel that Matt was responsible for making sure both WS and Bill Johnson got credit for their work while promoting the suit. Both artists worked very hard on Heartless, and we were proud of the work they did.
I wanted to be clear as the films creator and speaking for my production company that we have no problems with Matt. The problems posted all over the Internet are from the suit’s lead designer, Bill Johnson and his accusations and frustrations do not represent Whitestone.
Oh, the drama!